Morning Devotion November 10th    Nehemiah 9:26-38

A friend called me yesterday to discuss God’s mercy. It was a completely out of the blue and unexpected call from across the ocean. But this person was feeling really convicted to think through the whole idea of God’s mercy ….

We talked for a while, mulling through ideas and then this morning I find this in our devotion reading for today – “But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.”

The context is the prayer of confession, following the re-discovery of God’s instruction for the Israelites not to intermarry with those they found in the land when they returned from Egypt. (You will remember that this instruction was specifically to avoid getting involved with the false gods of those people.) And so, as the Levites pray – there were eight people involved in the prayer – they recount before the Lord, His promise of covenant and His deeds of mercy. Then based on the Covenant and on His mercy, they ask for forgiveness. (Its interesting that they spent one quarter of the day – 3 hours – reading the Scriptures out loud and one quarter in confession and worship – another 3 hours).

But what IS God’s mercy? I said, “God’s holding back of deserved punishment.” I was thinking along the lines of deserved consequences arising out of our disobedience. My friend said that it had to be more than that. She said that, “God’s mercy also comes when we have not looked for it or even thought that we need it, and this mercy comes with amazing love and grace, and does not just overlook the misdeed.”

Amen – I am so grateful for God’s mercy in my life.

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